5 Tips for Suc­cess­ful Cold Chain Logistics

Cold chain ship­ments often have to be trans­ported to the obscure parts of the world under strictly con­trolled tem­per­a­ture con­di­tions. Mak­ing sure that clin­i­cal spec­i­mens, vac­cine, drugs or other bio­log­i­cals reach their des­ti­na­tion safely, securely and at the right tem­per­a­ture is a crit­i­cal ele­ment of the drug dis­cov­ery process. As a ship­per, you need to ensure that your “cold chain” runs effi­ciently and with the least amount of adverse inci­dents. Here are some tips on how to make the ship­ping logis­tics process reli­able and suc­cess­ful:

1. Choose the right courier

Your courier should spe­cial­ize in Cold Chain logis­tics. Expe­ri­enced couri­ers will have an estab­lished rela­tion­ship with major air­lines and inti­mate knowl­edge of each carrier’s SOPs. Work­ing with a courier that can best accom­mo­date ship­pers trans­port­ing time and tem­per­a­ture crit­i­cal mate­r­ial is a big step towards suc­cess­ful Cold Chain.

2. Get your Courier involved early in the process

Involve your courier rep­re­sen­ta­tive into the ship­ment plan­ning process as early as pos­si­ble. With suf­fi­cient lead-​time, the courier can select ideal rout­ings and pick-​up times to pro­vide the fastest door-​to-​door tran­sit time, there­fore min­i­miz­ing time the com­mod­ity remains inside the pack­age. The ear­lier a courier gets involved, the eas­ier it will be to estab­lish the most impor­tant ele­ment of the ship­ping process – lines of com­mu­ni­ca­tion. This will ensure that all the play­ers in the process have up-​to-​date infor­ma­tion on the progress of a cold chain ship­ment. Plus, if some­thing goes wrong, (remem­ber Murphy’s Law?), the courier will know exactly who to con­tact.

3. Know the reg­u­la­tions

At any given time of the year, the reg­u­la­tory envi­ron­ment can vary greatly from coun­try to coun­try, or even within the same coun­try. Only a courier who pos­sesses in-​depth knowl­edge of these local issues and cus­toms will be able to nav­i­gate your ship­ments through the process eas­ily. Work­ing closely with your courier will allow you to plan around these vari­a­tions, to min­i­mize their impact on the logis­tics process.

4. Proper paper­work

Find out what import and export doc­u­men­ta­tion is required by work­ing closely with your logis­tics depart­ment or trans­porta­tion provider. Prop­erly pre­pared paper­work before ship­ping inter­na­tion­ally will help you avoid cus­toms delays.

5. Proper Pack­ag­ing

When it comes to main­tain­ing the integrity of your cold chain com­modi­ties, out­side tem­per­a­ture and time are the two ene­mies that are always work­ing against you. Choose the cor­rect “pre-​qualified or val­i­dated” pack­ag­ing sys­tem that is designed to main­tain your spe­cific tem­per­a­ture ranges as well as a proper tem­per­a­ture mon­i­tor­ing. Rips, dents, and tears will halt the ship­ping process. Train your staff on how to pack­age the ship­ment cor­rectly. Make sure you are also prop­erly posi­tion­ing your tem­per­a­ture mon­i­tor­ing devices to ensure the device is tak­ing accu­rate read­ings. Con­duct tran­sit tests to val­i­date the process and con­firm that the pack­ag­ing sys­tem will in fact main­tain the tem­per­a­ture for the entire shipment’s journey.